Black Lives Matter leader and media personality Shaun King said he’s getting death threats after tweeting that statues of Jesus should be taken down because they are “a form of white supremacy.”
King tweeted on June 22 about his views on the portrayal of a white European Jesus and his European mother and their white friends. He said the portrayal was created as a “form of tools of oppression” and “racist propaganda.”
Following those tweets, on June 23 King tweeted he’d “received about 20 death threats in the past 12 hours since I said that statues of white European Jesus are a tool of oppression for white supremacy and should be taken down. It pretty much proves my point. Your religion is actually whiteness with a Christian patina.”
King Said He’s a Practicing Christian & ‘Christian Whiteness Has ALWAYS Been Dangerous’
In reaction to the death threats King says he’s getting, he tweeted that he is not only a Christian, he is also an ordained minister and had been a senior pastor for several years.
He said, “If my critiques of the white supremacy within the Christian world bother you to the point of wanting to kill me, you are the problem.”
His original tweet said, “Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been. In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went? EGYPT! Not Denmark. Tear them down.”
In a thread to that tweet, he included how even stained-glassed depictions of Jesus, Mary and their “friends” should be removed since they are a “gross form of white supremacy.”
8 out of 10 Black Americans Say They Are Christian
Of all ethnicities in the U.S., Black Americans are the group that most identifies as Christian, according to Pew Research.
Pew research from 2014 found that 79% of Black Americans “identify as Christian … By comparison, seven-in-ten Americans overall (71%) say they are Christian, including 70% of whites, 77% of Latinos and just 34% of Asian Americans.”
Seventy-nine percent of Blacks said they were Christian in Pew’s research study.
With a majority of Black Americans worshipping what is depicted as a white savior, King is not the first to question why Jesus is portrayed as caucasian when he is said to be from an area where darker-skinned people live, or why African Americans worship a God who looks like those who historically oppressed them.
Boxer and activist Mohammed Ali posed the question during a 1971 interview with the BBC, saying when he was a child he would ask his mom why Jesus, Mary, the disciples and even the angels were white, and why they never saw any Black people amongst the Christian depictions of that group. He said he came to the conclusion that in heaven you didn’t see the Black angels because they “were in the kitchen preparing milk and honey.”
According to Pew, younger generations of African Americans are less apt to say they’re religiously affiliated. Pew reports about 30% of Black millennials said they don’t identify as any particular religion.
But many on Twitter were not going with King on this one and replied to his tweets.
Pew reported that African Americans embraced Christianity after being brought to the U.S. to be sold into slavery, “finding comfort in the Biblical message of spiritual equality and deliverance. In post-Civil War America, a burgeoning black church played a key role strengthening African American communities and in providing key support to the civil rights movement.”